Well intentioned words. Usually something along the lines of "I don't know how you do it all." or "So impressed with everything you do."
And then a somewhat panicked, almost desperate for illusions to be broken, response from me "I don't, I promise I really don't" or "Don't be because I promise I'm always dropping something."
Images from last Friday when I was supposed to be working at home with one fairly low maintenance sick child and had committed to delivering a few critical responses for work because, you know, I got this. But then chaos erupted when the call came through that the youngest, read highest maintenance, was also sick and I quickly realized, no, you don't have this.
These are the images of after. After throwing on clothes without showering. After racing to the school. After cursing traffic on 75 when our appointment was in five minutes and the littlest is screaming in the back. After a merciful dose of Motrin and prescription for antibiotics. After promising him whatever he wanted for lunch so the tears would stop. After ordering pizza in the parking garage and fingers crossed I would beat the pizza man home. These are the images of after.
The images of ten calm minutes while I sat beside him furiously trying to research who issues a Form 1099 when the entity is disregarded for U.S. tax purposes and looked over and said to myself quick, where is my camera. Because it felt as though we had made it through.
No sooner than I had set my camera down the tears began again and the magic was over.
And when the plea for more medicine was not met it all went downhill. And then I found myself with a hysterical preschooler on my hip at the pharmacy counter. And when the phone rang as I tried to talk to the pharmacist and the oldest was also making a plea for more medicine but it wasn't time I did my best to not lose my shit. It was not magic.
Not magic when I lost my temper. Not magic when the littlest kept telling me to "not touch him" when all I was trying to do was hold and console him. Not magic when it was painfully clear that I was not the one to make him feel better (daddy was).
But if I had only shared the images. If I had only shared the ten minutes of magic you might think it is always magic and then wonder why sometimes it just feels like hard work for YOU. Man, its hard work for all of us.
But maybe, just maybe, the point is looking for the magic IN the hard work.
Post inspired by the episode "On Magic & Work" on Elise Gets Crafty listened to last night on the dark drive home from work.